Kitchen Remodeling Trends, Part 1: “Going Green”

It’s no secret that a
well-designed, attractive kitchen gives a home that aesthetic appeal that’s on
everyone’s wish list.  However, if you
aren’t careful, all those large, fancy appliances and lighting fixtures can be
the biggest contributor to the power bill in your home.  Lighting, refrigeration and cooking are
responsible for about 42% of a home’s energy consumption, not counting the
daily kitchen activities like water heating, and space heating/cooling.

Lucky for you, remodeling your kitchen presents a big opportunity to improve the home’s energy performance.  By expanding the scope of your project to
include energy efficiency, environmental benefits, convenience and health
considerations, it will not only provide you long-term cost savings, but it
will also give you comfort, peace of mind and safety.

For those who are looking to
create a healthy, energy-efficient and eco-friendly kitchen, I have compiled a
list of 5 environmentally friendly kitchen remodeling ideas.

Sustainable Flooring

Products contrived from rapidly renewing forests can provide you with a gorgeous,
affordable and resilient floor—and it is an environmentally responsible choice.
Some popular examples are:

  • Bamboo
  • Cork
  • Eucalyptus
  • Linoleum

Windows, Doors and Skylights

By replacing single-pane windows with energy efficient windows, I guarantee
that you will enjoy more comfort and major savings—ranging from $110 to $400 a
year.  These products use low-e glass with
solar shading, which:

  • Improves the room’s comfort
  • Protects items and flooring from sun damage and discoloration
  • Reduces condensation on windows
  • Keeps cold air in during the summer and out during the winter


Lighting can have
a huge impact on the feel and functionality of a kitchen.  My suggestion is to maximize natural lighting
while also providing task lighting.  When
scouting for new gear, keep your eyes out for lamps made with natural,
recycled, or repurposed materials. 

controls are another way to save on energy consumption.  They can range from a simple outdoor light
fixture with a built-in photo sensor to whole-house programmable controls that
allow fixtures to perform as task, safety or mood lighting.  The cost of a control can often be offset by
the first year’s energy savings. 


Most major
manufacturers now make energy efficient appliances, and you can compare their
efficiency to their non-Energy Star rated counterparts in the store.  There
are numerous benefits to energy efficient appliances.  For example, by replacing a 20-year-old
refrigerator with a new, energy-efficient model, you can reduce your home’s CO2
contribution by about one ton per year while saving about $80 in reduced
electric bills annually.  Doesn’t that
sound like a good deal?

Paints and Finishes

paints and finishes contain high levels of VOCs, which:

  • Can produce potentially harmful gasses when applied
  • Can diminish air quality
  • May be detrimental to your health

Today there are many low- and no-VOC paints available on the market.  These paints release no or minimal VOC
pollutants, and are nearly odor free. This not only improves the home’s indoor
air quality, but it also makes it safer for people who have chemical
sensitivity, including young children.  Also, latex paints use water as their solvent
and carrier, which makes cleanup easier and lowers toxicity.

Just like any remodeling project, “greening” your house can be
overwhelming.   I always tell my clients to make reasonable
choices within their budget and to not get ahead of themselves.  Every green remodeling decision, no matter how
small or large, adds to a heather environment, both inside and outside the
kitchen.  Integrate these eco-friendly
ideas and watch your world become a little greener!